Sivut kuvina

mountebanks, to perform the three-times-three prostration at all times and before everything their conductors saw fit; who on their part stood by and laughed at their embarrassment in making these evolutions in their tight clothes. They were not allowed a single opportunity to speak about business, which the Chinese never associate with an ambassy, but were entertained with banquets and theatrical shows, and performed many skilful evolutions themselves upon their skates, greatly to the emperor's gratification, and received moreover a present of broken victuals from him, which had not only been honored by coming from the emperor's own table, but bore marks of his teeth and good appetite; “they were upon a dirty plate, and appeared rather destined to feed a dog than form the repast of a human creature.” Van Braam's own account of this ambassy is one of the most humiliating records of ill-requited obsequiousness before insolent government lackeys which any European was ever called upon to pen. The mission returned to Canton in April, 1796, without attaining a single object, except saluting the emperor, and this, in reality, was all the Chinese meant should be done when they suggested it; for, in order to understand much of their conduct towards their guests, the feelings they entertained towards them must not be lost sight of. The French have never sent a formal mission to Peking to petition for trade and make obeisance, while through their missionaries they have made Europeans better acquainted with China, and given the Chinese more knowledge of western countries, than all other Christian nations together. Since the war with England, France has sent a well-appointed mission to China, at the head of which was M. Lagrené, by whom a treaty was formed between France and China. The Russians have sent several ambassies to Peking, and compelled the Chinese to treat them as equals. The first recorded visit from a Russian was in 1619, but it may be questioned whether the mission of Evashko Pettlin and his companion, from Tomsk, across the desert to Kalgan and Peking, can be styled an ambassy. According to Murray, in whose compilation there is a notice of it, the two Cossacks were kindly received, but having no presents, they could not see the “dragon's face,” and were dismissed with a letter, which all the learning of Russia at Tobolsk and Moscow could not decipher. During the next sixty years,


Russian and Chinese subjects and soldiers frequently quarrelled, especially along the banks of the Sagalien, and the necessity of settling these disturbances and pretexts for trouble, by fixing the boundary line, being evident to both nations, commissioners were appointed to meet at Nipchu in Sept. 1689, and form a treaty. The missionary Gerbillon was mainly instrumental in settling. these disputes, and perhaps neither party would have lowered its arrogant claims, if it had not been through his influence; the Chinese were far the most difficult to please.* The next year, Peter sent Ysbrandt Ides as his envoy to Peking to exchange the ratification of the treaty; his journey across the wilds and wastes of Central Asia took up more time than a voyage by sea, for it was not till a year and eight months that “he could return thanks to the great God, who had conducted them all safe and well to their desired place.” Ides' own account of his mission contains very slight notices regarding its object, though it gives considerable information concerning the regions he travelled through. In 1719, Peter dispatched another ambassy under Ismailoff, to arrange the trade then conducted on a precarious footing—an account of which was drawn up by John Bell, an Englishman. Ismailoff refused to prostrate himself, until it was agreed that a Chinese minister, whenever sent to Petersburg, should conform to the usages of the Russians;– a safe stipulation certainly to a court which never demeans itself to send missions. The evident desirableness of keeping on good terms with the Russians, led the Chinese to treat their envoys with unusual respect, and attend to the business they came to settle. The trade was henceforth restricted to Kiakhta, and commissioners were appointed by both powers to manage its details. In 1727, a third mission was sent across the desert, under Count Vladislavitch, which succeeded in establishing the intercourse on a still better basis, viz. that a mission, consisting of six ecclesiastical and four lay members, should remain at Peking to study the Chinese and Manchu languages, so that interpreters could be prepared, and communications carried on more satisfactorily ;

the members of this college were to be changed decennially.

The narrative of George Timkowski, who conducted the relief sent in 1821, gives an account of his trip from Kiakhta across the

• Chinese Repository, Vol. VIII., pp. 417, 506; Du Halde, Timkowski

desert, together with considerable information relating to the Kalkas and other Mongol tribes subject to China. The archimandrite, Hyacinth Batchourin, has given a description of Peking, but such works as the members of the Russian college have written, are for the most part still in that language. - The intercourse of the English with China, though it commenced later than the other maritime nations of Europe, has been far more important in its consequences, and their trade greater in amount than all other foreign nations combined. This intercourse has not been such as was calculated to impress the Chinese with a just idea of the character of the British nation as a Christian and philanthropic people; for the supercargoes and members of the East India Company, who had the exclusive monopoly of the trade between the two countries for nearly two centuries, systematically opposed every effort to diffuse Christian doctrine and general knowledge among them. During that long period, even if they had only maintained an interpreter in their factory, whose duties required him, besides the common routine of his office, to prepare scientific, geographical, and other popular treatises in the Chinese language, for sale or distribution, the character of all foreigners would have been far better in the eyes of the Chinese than it is at present. The first English vessels were under the command of Weddell, who anchored off Macao in May, 1637, though an unsuccessful attempt to open a trade had been made by queen Elizabeth in 1596, by dispatching an envoy with a letter to the emperor. Weddell was sent to China in accordance with a “truce and free trade” which had been entered into between the English merchants and the viceroy of Goa, who gave letters to the governor of Macao. The fleet was coldly received, and Weddell deluded with vain promises until the Portuguese fleet had sailed for Japan, when he was denied permission to trade. Two or three of his officers having visited Canton, he was very desirous to participate in the traffic, and proceeded with his whole fleet up to the Bogue forts, where this desire was made known to the commanders of the forts, who promised to return an answer in a week. Meanwhile, the Portuguese, with their usual shortsightedness, so misrepresented them to the Chinese, that the commander of the forts thought he would end the matter by driving them away. Having made every preparation during the period the fleet was waiting,


an attack was first made upon a watering-boat, by firing shot at it when passing near the forts. “Herewith the whole fleet,” quoting from Staunton's record, “being instantly incensed, did, on the sudden, display their bloody ensigns; and, weighing their anchors, fell up with the flood, and berthed themselves before the castle, from whence came many shot, yet not any that touched so much as hull or rope; whereupon, not being able to endure their bravadoes any longer, each ship began to play furiously upon them with their broadsides; and after two or three hours, perceiving their cowardly fainting, the boats were landed with about one hundred men; which sight occasioned them, with great distractions, instantly to abandon the castle and fly; the boats’ crews, in the meantime, without let, entering the same, and displaying his majesty’s colors of Great Britain upon the walls, having the same night put aboard all their ordnance, fired the council-house and demolished what they could. The boats of the fleet also seized a junk laden with boards and timber, and another with salt. Another vessel of small moment was surprised, by whose boat a letter was sent to the chief mandarins at Canton, expostulating their breach of truce, excusing the assailing of the castle, and withal in fair terms requiring the liberty of trade.” This letter was shortly replied to, and after a little explanatory negotiation, hastened to a favorable conclusion on the part of the Chinese by what they had seen, trade was allowed after the captured guns and vessels were restored, and the ships supplied with cargoes. No other attempt to open a trade was made till 1664, and during the change of dynasty, which took place in the interim, the trade of all nations with China, probably suffered more or less from the suspension of manufactures, or the risk of transporting goods. The English had a commercial factory at Firado, in Japan, from 1613 to 1633, and seem to have carried on some trade from that place, with Ningpo, while the Portuguese were established there. The East India Company had a factory at Bantam in Java, and one at Madras, but their trade with the East was seriously incom-. moded by the war with the Dutch; when it was renewed in 1664, only one ship was sent to Macao, but such were the exactions imposed upon the trade by the Chinese, and the effect of the misrepresentations of the Portuguese, that the ship returned without effecting sale. This did not discourage the Company, how

ever, who ordered their agents at Bantam to make inquiries respecting the most favorable port, and what commodities were most in demand. They mentioned “Fuhchau as a place of great resort, affording all China commodities, as raw and wrought silk, tutenague, gold, china-root, tea, &c.” A trade had been opened with Koxinga's son, in Formosa and at Amoy, but this rude chieftain had little other idea of traffic than a means of helping himself to every curious commodity the ships brought, and levying heavy imposts upon their cargoes. A treaty was indeed entered into with him, in which the supercargoes, as was the case subsequently in 1842, stipulated for far greater privileges and lighter duties than Chinese goods and vessels would have had in English ports. Besides freedom to go where they pleased without any one attending them, access at all times to the king, liberty to choose their own clerks, and trade with whom they pleased, it was also agreed, “that what goods the king buys, shall pay no custom; that rice imported pay no custom ; that all goods imported pay three per cent. after sale, and all goods exported be custom free.” This trade did not, however, continue very long, chiefly because there were few articles to be had at Zealandia. The trade at Amoy was more successful, and a small vessel was sent there in 1677, which brought back such a favorable report, that a factory was ordered to be established the next year. In 1678, the investments for these two places were $30,000 in bullion, and $20,000 in goods; the returns were chiefly in silk goods, tutenague, rhubarb, &c.; the trade was continued for several years, apparently with considerable profit, though the Manchus continually increased the restrictions under which it labored. In 1681, the Company ordered their factories at Amoy and Formosa to be withdrawn, and one established at Canton or Fuhchau, but in 1685, the trade was renewed at Amoy. The Portuguese managed to prevent the English obtaining a footing at Canton, until about 1684; and, as Davis remarks, the stupid pertinacity with which they endeavored to exclude them from this port and trade, is one of the most striking circumstances connected with these trials and rivalries. It is the more inexplicable in the case of the Portuguese, for they could carry nothing to England, nor could they force the English to trade with them at second-hand; theirs was truly the “dog in the manger” policy, and they have subsequently starved upon it. In 1689, a duty of

« EdellinenJatka »